What does neonatal death mean?
If a baby dies within the first 28 days after they’re born, it is known as a neonatal death.
If a baby dies after 24 weeks of pregnancy, but before they’re born, it is known as a stillbirth. We have support and advice about stillbirth here.
Why do babies die?
After the loss of a baby, it is natural to want answers about why it happened.
Sometimes the answer is clear, and other times a doctor or coroner will need to run tests or do a post-mortem to find out what happened and why. Sometimes they may not be able to find out why.
Common causes of neonatal death
Most neonatal deaths are linked to premature birth, because when babies are born too soon or too small they are more at risk of infection and other serious health problems. However, there are reasons why a baby may not survive, even if they were born at full-term, including:
- genetic disorders
- complications during or after birth
Support after your baby dies
The loss of a baby is devastating. We’re here to offer emotional and practical support to parents and families who are going through this experience.
Emotional support for parents after neonatal loss
If you want to talk to a professional about how you’re feeling, our team of expert midwives are available via the Tommy’s advice line on 0800 0147 800, 9am-5pm. If you’re not ready to talk, we have some information that might help:
- Coping with grief after your baby dies
- Spending time with your baby
- Supporting your partner after your baby dies
Emotional support for others after a baby dies
Family, friends and colleagues of those who lost a baby can find it difficult to know what to say or how to help, while also coping with their own grief. Here’s some advice that could help:
- How to support a friend or family member after their baby dies
- Support for grandparents if your grandchild dies
- Supporting other children after their sibling dies
Practical support for parents who have lost a baby
As well as managing your emotions in the early days and weeks after loss, you will have decisions and arrangements to make. It is an overwhelming time, but hopefully this practical advice will help guide you through it: